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Dr Reina Roa awarded WHF Advocacy Award in Cardiovascular Health

31 Aug 2019

Dr Reina Roa was presented with the WHF Advocacy Award in Cardiovascular Health, today at the opening of ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology.

Dr Roa is a technical-political expert at the Panamanian Ministry of Health and Professor at the National University of Panamá teaching biostatistics, epidemiology and research methods at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is also a science researcher associated to the Gorgas Commemorative Institute for Health Studies, with multiple publications in tobacco control.

The principal achievements of Dr. Reina Roa have been in tobacco control at the national, regional and global levels:

1. At the national level, Dr. Roa was a trailblazer in tobacco control, organized civil society, led the effort for ratification of the FCTC in Panama, which became the 2nd to ratify in the AMRO region, and was among the first 40 countries worldwide to ratify. Dr. Roa led also the approval of major tobacco control policies in her country to raise Panama to the top of countries worldwide for its compliance with the FCTC. She has continued in her role through many different administrations and her efforts are responsible for a 6.1% adult prevalence of tobacco consumption in Panama, one of the lowest in the region and worldwide.

2. At the regional level, Dr. Roa has been a leader in negotiations that resulted in the FCTC and was instrumental in the development of its various Guidelines, particularly the Guidelines on Article 5.3 on the role of the tobacco industry to reduce the industry’s interference with tobacco control policies. She was repeatedly elected by the region to be the regional member to the FCTC Bureau for the Conference of the Parties (COP), because of her political acumen, negotiating skills, competencies, and commitment to tobacco control, evidencing the trust the countries of the region placed in Dr. Roa. Further, with funding from tobacco taxes, she has supported many governmental and civil society conferences, workshops and various advocacy actions during the past 10 years, providing a setting and model for continued advances in regional tobacco control policies.

3. At the global level, Dr. Roa has worked tirelessly to strengthen the FCTC and its Guidelines, many times working behind the scenes with country delegations and the FCTC Secretariat in Geneva. She was also the go-between for civil society organizations and government delegations. She was a strong spokesperson in negotiations, taking on powerful interests and countries. The FCTC would not have been the same had it not been because of her actions.